Whilst Nevada and its much-lauded city of sins, Las Vegas, may be known best around the world for providing individuals the chance to take a shot at the big time, in many circles, particularly those that enjoy a game of poker, California is the capital of the card sharks. Thanks to proliferating card clubs, tournaments and casinos, poker in California has truly earned a name for itself, but what about in the world of the internet?
For a long time, online video poker has been illegal in the sunshine state, however despite this fact, the state is viewed by many in the online poker community as being one of the most promising American markets for legalization, given the game’s popularity there. Although almost all competing interests are in agreement that the pastime should indeed be legalized, coming to a state of agreement has been a rather difficult task. Casinos, Native American tribes, horse racing proponents, social groups and the government all have competing agendas, resulting in political deadlock of the most tedious form, .
Thankfully though the logjam may have just been unblocked. Just days ago, on the 17th of April 2015, online poker legislation passing through the state’s Assembly Governmental Organisation Committee (GO) was given a thumbs up. ; the bill needed to advance by May 1st to be kept alive, and as such it comes with no real language or specifics, these expectantly being written up at a later date. The issues with racing actors and tribes still exist, though even their efforts to derail the bill at this early stage were all for naught. The next step for the bill will be on May 20th, when a joint informational hearing between Assembly and Senate Governmental Organisation Committee is set to take place.
In New Jersey, given that companies could only be from the state, operating within the state, many deals between international gambling companies and New Jersey casinos took place. One of the biggest was between Tropicana Casino and the United Kingdom gaming developer Gamesys, that saw the , a decidedly British gaming site. All manner of New Jersey’s casinos were rushing to enter in to deals with established poker companies upon legalization, so it makes sense a similar gold rush would occur in California.
Will we see Gamesys moving across the U.S. as states legalize? Or will state legislators nip the bill in the bud and side with concerned parties? Only time will reveal the fate of video poker in the sunshine state.